There’s no shortage of affordable superminis on the leasing market. And while the plucky little Swift is easier on the wallet than most, can it still cut the mustard when it comes to rivals?
If this was a property based TV show, we’d be using one key phrase - ‘Value, value, value’. That’s what the Swiftis all about and it’s impossible to overlook how low the monthly lease fees can be. You can lease a Suzuki Swift with Select from around £183 per month*, which undercuts rivals like the Kia Picanto, Peugeot 208, and the MG 3 hatchback.
At that price, you might be forgiven for thinking you’d have to skimp on creature comforts. Not so. And it’s here where the Swift really comes into its own. Right off the bat, as standard on every car, you get 16 inch alloys, LED headlights, a rear parking camera, darkened privacy glass and - get this - adaptive cruise control and an advanced Radar Brake Support system, which can slam on the anchors for you if it detects an imminent danger.
The adaptive cruise control in particular gets a massive tick from us - as it’s normally reserved for much more premium cars. So far, so good…
At a Glance
You really do overlook the Suzuki Swift at your peril.
There’s an unassuming quality about it, similar to the Kia Picanto, but it gives off some fun vibes and as Suzukitells us, it’s ‘good different’.
If the Swift was a high school nerd in a movie, the bit where it takes off its glasses and everyone sees its beauty is when you open the door and step inside the cabin. It’s a genuinely pleasant place to be, complete with body-coloured accents underneath the dash. It’s not something you’d ever class as ‘premium’, but it’s not trying to be.
The model we tested was a range-topping SZ5model, which you can lease from around £218 per month*. It gets a full-colour touchscreen, keyless entry and start, and an uprated sound system.
Our test car also arrived with Suzuki’s ALLGRIP 4x4 drivetrain - something that will offer reassurance in slippy winter conditions but which, arguably, you can probably live without on an urban-dwelling family hatch.
We’ve mentioned a few of the key features above, but it’s good to reinforce just how much you get as standard, even on entry level cars.
Each and every Suzuki Swift is a mild-hybrid, which means you get a small amount of electrical assistance that aids fuel economy, helps to lower CO2 emissions, and can even provide a little jolt when it comes to acceleration.
Being a hybrid is a strong selling point for the Swift, and it puts it on a par with fellow mild-hybrid competitors like the Hyundai i20 - which attracts a higher leasing fee.
Not many city superminis can claim to be all-wheel drive either - which is another box ticked for the Suzuki if you’re looking for that option. A lack of ground clearance means you won’t be able to go where a traditional 4x4 SUVmight take you, but you should at least be able to extricate yourself from that muddy festival field while others slip and slide into the nearest portaloo.
One thing to note, however - the Swift ALLGRIP is unavailable to lease right now, and you can’t configure it on the Suzuki website either. That suggests either supply issues, or that Suzuki may have quietly dropped it from its line-up…
Performance & Drive
If you want performance, you’ll need to look at the Suzuki Swift Sport, a sort of mild/hot hatch that ups the ante.
For the purposes of this review, however, we’re sticking with the common-or-garden Swift, and they’re all powered by the same engine - a 1.2 litre petrol unit with power of 83 PS.
That ain’t a lot of oomph - but it’s still more than the entry-level Vauxhall Corsa. You’ll get from 0-62mph in 13.1 seconds if you go for a Swift with a manualgearbox, while choosing the CVT automatic takes that time down to 12.2 seconds. In an age where electric vehicles wipe the floor with such times, it’s not rapid.
But - and here’s the thing - it’s still quick enough and it’s actually fun to drive. The engine feels like it actually benefits from being slightly heavy with your right foot, particularly with the all-wheel drive model. This reviewer found himself stalling on a couple of occasions because he wasn’t giving it enough beans pulling away from a junction.
But if you drive with a bit of enthusiasm, it’ll get you down the road.
Like the Swift’s stablemate, the Suzuki Ignis, the turning circle on the Swift is, quite frankly, ridiculously good, which means you’ll be sure to nab that last parking spot outside the school gates.
Also - again, like the Ignis- it seemed to shrug off the worst potholes that the roads of Cheshire could throw at it. And the roads of Cheshire are really trying their damnedest to rattle your teeth out.
Motorway journeys in the Swift were fairly effortless, too, being relatively quiet in the cabin and keeping up with traffic in a decent manner.
So, anything not to like? If we had to be picky, we’d say the gearbox is a little agricultural. But, again, the Swift is all about keeping costs down so it’s never going to be as slick to change cogs as a BMW.
Running Costs & Emissions
As we said above, all Suzuki Swifts are mild-hybrid, which means you won’t be popping to the petrol station every five minutes, because they’re frugal.
A Swift with a manual gearbox will return close to 60 miles to the gallon while the automatic box brings that down slightly to 55 mpg.
The CO2 emissions dip as low as 106 g/km, so road tax is low. Having said that, when you lease a Swift the road tax is automatically included in your monthly fee, so you don’t need to worry about that anyway.
Interior & Technology
Like your favourite Ikea sofa, the interior of the Suzuki Swift is almost reassuringly basic. Yes, you’ll find hard plastics and there’s a no-nonsense approach that reminds you a bit of the old Fiat Panda.
But it’s far from a depressing place to be. The colourful infotainment touchscreen - which comes as standard with Apple CarPlay and AndroidAuto - certainly helps to brighten up the cabin.
As we said before, tech levels are strong with the Swift.
You get, as standard, with even the most basic Swift, a rear parking camera, a DAB radio, steering wheel mounted audio controls, and a proper touchscreen.
And that’s before you get to the driver assistance and safety features.
The inclusion of adaptive cruise control as standard - which is designed to help you maintain a safe following distance while also staying within the speed limit - is welcome indeed, even if the ‘you’re going too fast!’ alarm can be quite jarring (until you figure out how to turn it off).
The touch-sensitive haptic pad that controls the volume takes a while to get used to and will end up being a ‘love it, hate it’ thing depending on your personal preference.
Practicality & Boot Space
Stop the car. Don’t touch the driver’s seat. Get straight in the back and see how much legroom is left. That’s the definitive test when it comes to superminis.
And we’re happy to report that the Swift passes with flying colours. There’s certainly enough space in the back for a couple of adults and legroom in the front is decent, too.
It’s not a Volvoestate, so the Swift is never going to win any awards for luggage space. But, again, it competes well with rivals.
A 265 litre boot is larger than what you get with the Kia Picanto, but smaller than the available space in the Skoda Fabia or the Volkswagen Polo.
This reviewer had no dramas ferrying skateboards, bags and footy kit for the sprog during his week with it, so happy days.
As we mentioned earlier, all Swifts that arrive in the UK come with Suzuki’s danger-detecting ‘radar brake support’ system.
To get technical, it uses the reflection from a millimetre-wave radar sensor fitted on the front of the vehicle to spot potential hazards.
And the radar brake support intervention comes in four different stages - you get a warning sound first, telling you to apply the brakes, then some automatic light braking, then some heavy braking, and the system will apply the brakes fully if you’ve still not taken any notice.
While the radar brake support system can’t detect smaller road users - like pedestrians, animals and bikes - it will help to stop you colliding with another vehicle.
Add adaptive cruise control to the list of safety stuff you get as standard, and the Swift really begins to appeal.
The Swift was handed a respectable four stars out of five by industry assessors Euro NCAP, and it’s a rating that was reviewed in 2021, so it’s fairly up-to-date.
You’ve got three main variants of the Suzuki Swift.
The entry-level model is SZ-L, mid-range is SZ-T, and then you’ve got the range-topping SZ5.
The middle-of-the-road SZ-T unlocks goodies like rear parking sensors, lane departure warning and prevention, and dual sensor brake support (which is an improvement on the standard ‘radar brake support’ system).
Meanwhile the most expensive SZ5 Swift gets extras like sat nav, automatic air conditioning, electric rear windows in the rear, and two tweeters for the sound system.
As we mention above, 4x4 Swifts appear to be thin on the ground right now - so watch this space on that front.
When it comes to colours, Fervent Red is a no cost option, while choosing pearlescent or metallic shades will add around £11 quid to your monthly lease fee.
And you can add a black roof for a two-tone effect for around £15 extra per month.
There are no shortage of rivals to the Swift, but whichever way you look at it, the dinky Suzuki can hold its own against competitors.
The Vauxhall Corsa is, pound for pound, arguably the biggest threat to the Swift. The entry-level Corsa has less power than the Swift, but has a larger boot by about 30 litres.
The Volkswagen Polo attracts similar leasing money, but is arguably a more premium product. The cabin is certainly better appointed in the VW. The bog-standard Polo is, however, a little on the dull side.
The Ford Fiesta is going the way of the dodo so it’s perhaps pointless talking about it here.
But one car you really need to look at is the SEAT Ibiza. The fun-loving Ibiza has the same vibrant energy as the Swift and similar amounts of power.
The MG3might be another slightly left-field choice. It’s a good looking hatchback with power of 107 PS from a larger 1.5 litre engine. With MG’s recent revival, the 3 should be well put-together, too.
BUT - there is another option… read below.
Verdict & Next Steps
It’s bright, it’s breezy, and a Suzuki Swift lease should be very easy to settle into. Being light and nimble makes it a weapon when it comes to tackling Britain’s pothole blighted roads and the smallest of turning circles ensures it’s a doddle to park, too.
When it comes to bang for your buck, the list of kit you get as standard with the Suzuki Swift really does make it stand apart from some of its closest rivals.
But there’s another car in the Suzuki stable that should also be on your list of leasing options - and that’s the Suzuki Ignis. It’s a few quid more to lease each month, but we had a hoot in the Ignis during our recent test and if we had a gun to our head, we’d probably plump for that over the Swift - even though you do have to sacrifice slightly on space.
Where to next?
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**Score based on Select’s unique meta score analysis, taking into account the UK’s top five leading independent car website reviews of the Suzuki Swift.
**Correct as of 23/05/2023. Based on 9 months initial payment, 5,000 miles over a 48 month lease. Initial payment equivalent to 9 monthly payments or £1,654.02 (Plus admin fee) Ts and Cs apply. Credit is subject to status.